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The Crazy-Sounding Beauty Trend That's Totally Changed My Life

Photograph by Twenty20

I have a love-hate relationship with my eyebrows. It's been a lifelong saga, starting like this:

Once upon a time, I was a 13-year-old with a unibrow. It was big. It was bushy. And I hated it. Around 8th grade, my mom finally had mercy on me and showed me the miracle that are tweezers. Soon, my caterpillar brows had morphed into thin, arched lines. I thought they were gorgeous, of course, and took this thin eyebrow trend to the extreme.

At some point in my 20s, I began to realize that I was born with thick eyebrows for a reason—because they suited my face. So I decided to grow them back. Except for one little problem—they wouldn't grow. Like at all. Years of over-tweezing, waxing and threading had left my poor brows thin and sparse.

And so began my days of drawing on fake eyebrows.

Generally, I'm a pretty low-maintenance gal. I don't buy super expensive makeup or get facials every other week. I try to stretch as much time as possible between hair appointments to save a bit of money. My makeup routine takes me all of five minutes—and most of that time is spent drawing on my eyebrows.

If you pencil on your eyebrows, you know the painstaking work this can take. First of all, getting even, symmetrical eyebrows sketched on your face daily is a tedious task I don't wish on anyone. Then, say you get the pencil job done precisely, it more than likely will rub off on your clothes, your baby's head or sweat off by the end of the day, thus leaving you with, what I call "eyebrow anxiety" or the fear that your true eyebrowless self is exposed without your knowledge.

I was super self-conscious about my eyebrows—or lack thereof—for years. There was no such thing as a no-makeup day because I freaked my children out with my eyebrow baldness. After swimming or jumping in the lake, I would quickly rush to check out the damage and fix myself up.

Tattooed eyebrows felt too permanent and looked too fake for my liking, so I thought I was stuck with the curse of the eyebrow pencil for eternity ... until I discovered microblading. It's all the rage now, but if you haven't heard of it, it's a form of semipermanent tattooing where pigment is applied under your skin in hair-like strokes.

Did it hurt? YEP. Was I OK with that? YES. Did the end result warrant the pain? HELL YES!

My fellow eyebrowless friend had recently taken the plunge and had microblading done and she looked fantastic—so, I couldn't help but wonder if it would work for me. So I tossed around the idea for a while debating the pros and cons.

Cons: It costs a pretty penny. It hurts.

Pros: I WOULD HAVE EYEBROWS.

Finally, my short-but-persuasive pro list won out and I booked my appointment. I went with a well-known esthetician who was certified in microblading. I took time checking out different people and places, looked at websites and client pictures and had a consultation with the person I finally chose.

The consult was actually my first appointment. The esthetician took time with me to look a pictures and eyebrow styles that I liked. Then she measured my face and, very symmetrically, drew the outline of perfect brows. She had me take a look at the sketching for my final approval, but, honestly, it was hard to tell what they'd look like with all the lines.

Picture a big cross in red sketching pencil and the outline of still empty eyebrow areas. I had to kind of blindly trust her and tell myself that she's the expert and reassure myself that they'd turn out awesome.

After we chose a pigment/color that best suited my hair color and skin tone (again, with blind trust), she was ready to start. She made the comment that I'd hear an annoying sound "kind of like Velcro." I asked if this was the sound of my skin being sliced open and she made a face that indicated yes, but don't think about it.

She started by making a few "incisions" randomly over each eyebrow to break the skin and allow some topical anesthetic to soak in. This part hurt as much as it sounds. After the pain reliever took off, the pain was dulled but never gone.

Now, if you're like me, you can withstand a ton of pain—especially if it's expected and something I have consciously chosen to endure, like tattoos, piercings, waxing and childbirth. But if sudden pain is thrown at me out of the blue (i.e., stepping on a Lego), I will scream bloody murder and maybe shed an unexpected tear.

Luckily, this procedure fell into the first category.

Did it hurt? YEP. Was I OK with that? YES. Did the end result warrant the pain? HELL YES!

She worked on me for about 30 minutes and then told me to look in the mirror. She had warned me that they would initially be darker than I planned because they initially fade out pretty fast, so I was expecting this. But all I saw when I looked in the mirror was amazingly real-looking eyebrows. I couldn't take my eyes off of them. She gave me the care instructions and we scheduled my follow-up for four weeks later.

It didn't completely hit me how amazing this all was until that night before bed. I usually wash my face directly before crawling in because my lack of eyebrows made me feel so ugly. That night, I dried my face off and looked in the mirror expecting the usual tired eyebrowless 34-year-old staring back at me and I almost teared up with what I saw: a natural and clean face complete with brows and all.

I took very good care of the new additions to my face and they healed easily and never looked red or swollen. My follow-up appointment went much like the first minus all the drawing. It was fast and, while not exactly painless, I left looking even better than the first time.

As a mom of two young kiddos, natural beauty (i.e., looking human without applying a piles of makeup) can go a long way in improving my mood, confidence and state of mind. So if you're suffering from alopecia, years of over-plucking or you just need a little fill-in, I would highly recommend microblading as the answer.

It's amazing how this one little investment can change your look and—at the risk of being overdramatic—your life.

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